I can tell when I've reached a turning point with the novel. I usually write with music in the background, instrumental; soundtracks, guitar, jazz, ethnic. Things without words. I got stuck in a loop for a while with the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, the Return of the King version. It seemed to go with what I was writing.
Today I was able to listen to music with words, and not have it distract me because I was into what I was writing. Things flowed. The characters leapt from my synapses, down my fingers, through the keyboard and onto the page. I was barely able to type fast enough to keep up. Its times like this that I have some hope that things are coming together.
One of the weirder things about writing to music is that sometimes when I'm editing, a section will have a musical association with it. I've run into this before, but with my art. I have a painting I did in college, many years ago. It's stored away, but when I move things around and pull it out, I know exactly which section was painting to which music. Of course it helps that I still listen to the same artists, but still... It makes you wonder how it all gets engraved into your brain like that. Or is it because the music has worn a groove into your mind, and it becomes a part of you, like your heartbeat or breathing?
The same holds true of characters. At first they have to be coaxed out of the mists, then they take form and become someone so real, you could see them the next aisle over in Wal-Mart any given day of the week. Of course, since mine mostly carry swords and shields, it might cause quite a stir. I think they'd enjoy leaving that kind of lasting impression on the populace. Like good music, character resonance never really fades. Maybe that explains the preponderance of ten book 'trilogies' and 40 pound sequels.
Lord of the Rings Soundtracks
Blackhawk Down Soundtrack
The Keeper Soundtrack
Grey Larson & Andre Marchand
Wagner – Twilight of the Gods
Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn
Dead Can Dance